Poised for great future ahead
– Min. Allicock tells HEYS participants in Region 3
$1.9Million was disbursed to thirty-eight participants of the Hinterland Employment Youth Service (HEYS) Programme during a visit to Essequibo Islands-West Demerara, Region 3 Wednesday last.
Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Sydney Allicock led a seven-member team to the region to disburse grants to participants with existing businesses under the initiative. The young entrepreneurs came from the communities of Saxacalli and Bonasika in Caria Caria where the grant was distributed.
Moving testimonies were shared by the young people who noted with excitement, the positive impact the HEYS Programme has on their lives.
Caria Caria’s Karen DeNieuenkirk said, “it has been a good learning experience, I am now in a better position to operate my own small business and I know that by God’s grace I will be successful”.Celine Sampson another participant from Caria Caria noted that “this programme has transformed my life … there was an opportunity for one person from my community to train as a Health Worker, I embraced the challenge and today the programme has helped me tremendously financially and in the academic area and I will be graduating on the 11 April, 2019.”
“I have discovered hidden talents that I am now using, my life has changed, and I have a business up and running… and I am confident that things are better with me now than before. I will be happy if this programme can be brought back so more young people can have a chance to improve their life” said Crystal Decamp who is also a participant form Caria Caria.
HEYS also caters to persons living with disabilities; Courtley Jones a youth from Saxacalli with assistance from his sister Candida Allicock related that he began his poultry business “with a small number of chickens and now he has forty-three laying birds,” and is planning to expand his business venture. Jones took the opportunity to capitalise on a marketing opportunity and sold fourteen trays of eggs to those attending the meeting including Minister Allicock who bought four trays to take back to the city.
Glen Harris a participant from Bonasika shared that the initiative has benefited both himself and his family. He thanked the Government for proving the opportunity to improve his life.
Following their testimonies, Minister Sydney Allicock said he is extremely pleased with the commitment demonstrated and positive outcomes are being realised by the youths who have embraced the HEYS programme.
“What I can see and what I can hear is that you are poised for a great future ahead, the mere fact that you have said these things is very encouraging. Courtley Jones your story from the chickens and eggs is very refreshing, it means that you are committed and a lot of people might think that when you living with a disability that you cannot help yourself and here is a very, very good example of what could happen as long as you are focused and dedicated”.
The Minister further noted that “I am extremely impressed with the number of young women are taking up the challenge, and who are leading the way. This is a very, very good sign.”
The HEYS programme which was introduced in 2015, is the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Flagship Youth initiative, one that has transformed the lives of close to four thousand youths across the Hinterland.
The programme is one that was part of a ten-point plan for Hinterland development announced by President David Granger during his address at the opening of the National Toshao’s Council Conference in 2015.
To date, the “Movement” has brought tremendous benefits to hundreds of youths and already plans are being formulated to have a third cohort rolled out before the end of 2019.